The theme of Family in Crime and Punishment from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
How much influence does his relationship with his family have on his criminal act ? . has been humiliated at the Svidrigaylov's, and how odious Luzhin is. .. Raskolnikov admires Dunya, though he hates being the object of. Raskolnikov has rationalized his crime with the defense that as he is destined for . as are the stories of those women with whom he has an intimate relation. of her wording, but then develops into an examination of Dunya's fiancé, Luzhin. . emotional response of anger, hatred, resentment and sadness. Everything you ever wanted to know about Pyotr Petrovitch Luzhin in Crime and Crime and Punishment Luzhin is a 10 out of 10 on the villain scale. We're.
As soon as I entered her hospital room, she introduced me to a nurse as her son the professor, and the nurse immediately reported that in her family there were six generations of Harvard Medical School graduates.
This set the tone for my entire visit. My mother showed me off to doctors and nurses, and in her conversations with friends there was a constant exchange of boasts in which I figured prominently. I realized more vividly than ever that she lived in a world in which she was bombarded with stories about the accomplishments of children and relatives and that I was her chief source of ammunition with which to reply.
She was fighting to hold her own in a very competitive environment and to score an occasional triumph. Hence her weekly question, "What's new?
I was staying with my wife's brother and his wife, who had a large family in the area. We went for Thanksgiving dinner to the home of one of my sister-in-law's sisters whose children were exceptionally bright and whose trophies were on display.
Her own children, my nephews, wilted visibly in the presence of their cousins, whose parents delighted in telling stories of their triumphs. My nephews were fairly accomplished young men but no match for their higher achieving cousins. I felt during this period that I had stepped into my unconscious, that it was all around me, objectified in the behavior of my mother, of her friends, of the doctors and nurses who had to let me know how important they were, and of my brother- and sister-in-law's family.
Conditioned as I had been, how foolish I was to have thought that I could escape, that I did not have to try to do great things.
Raskolnikova: Rodion Romanovich’s Struggle with the Woman Within
This experience actually helped me to come to terms with some of my compulsions, to understand and accept them, to forgive myself for having them. I could not have been otherwise. And all the time I was carrying around Crime and Punishment, rereading and brooding upon it. I was struck as never before by the importance of Pulkheria Alexandrovna, by the tremendous pressure she puts on her son, and by her resemblances to my own mother. Early in the novel, Raskolnikov receives a long letter from his mother that tortures him.
As he finishes reading it, his face is "pale and convulsively distorted and a bitter angry smile play[s] over his lips" I, iii. Before receiving the letter, he had been in terrible conflict about his plan to murder Alyona Ivanovna. He had carried out the rehearsal but then had felt "infinite loathing" toward the "vile, filthy, horrible" act he had been contemplating I, i, 7. Convinced that he could never do it, he suddenly had a social impulse that took him to the tavern where he became involved with Marmeladov.
Raskolnikov oscillates both before and after receiving his mother's letter, but her letter pushes him in the direction of carrying out his plan, and it is possible that without it he would not have committed the murder.
I found myself oppressed by this letter and more able than ever before to enter into Raskolnikov's state of mind. Is it Raskolnikov's happiness that his mother and sister desire?
I think not, unless it takes the form of becoming a great man. When his mother writes that he is their only hope and trust, she means that, as the male in the family, he is the only one who can achieve glory in which she and Dunya can vicariously participate. Raskolnikov's career is so important to his mother and sister that they are ready to sacrifice themselves to facilitate it.
Pulkheria sends money, borrowed on her meager pension, and ruins her eyes with knitting to make a few extra roubles. In order to help her brother, Dunya takes her salary in advance from Svidrigaylov, forcing her to remain in his household after he begins to harass her.
The self-sacrificial disposition of both women is well-known. Raskolnikov's landlady feels that there is hope of collecting the money he owes "because there is a mama who will come to Rodenka's rescue with her pension of a hundred and twenty-five roubles, if it means going without enough to eat herself, and a sister who would sell herself into slavery for him" II, iii, Dunya is, indeed, prepared to sell herself into slavery by marrying Luzhin in order to advance her brother's career.
When Luzhin complains that she is not treating his interests as more important than those of her brother, Dunya heatedly replies: Rodya has been everything precious, the whole of her life. What a terrible burden for him! Raskolnikov is supposed to feel gratitude for the sacrifices of mother and sister and to repay them by making them proud. In her letter, Pulkheria at once assures him that she and Dunya are fine, that their sacrifices are nothing, and lets him know how much she has suffered, how Dunya has been humiliated at the Svidrigaylov's, and how odious Luzhin is.
He should love Dunya as she loves him: She is an angel" I, iii, Raskolnikov feels that the only way he can reciprocate their "love" is by having a glorious career.
He is convinced that Dunya has agreed to marry Luzhin because in this way "his happiness may be secured, he may be kept at the University, made a partner in the office, his future provided for; perhaps later on he may be rich, respected, honoured, he may even die famous! There is a great deal of bitterness here.
There is ample evidence that Raskolnikov has understood his sister correctly, that she was prepared to make an "infamous" marriage for the sake of his future glory. After Svidrigaylov tells her that her brother is a murderer and explains his theory of the extraordinary man, he recognizes that Dunya's distress is not entirely on moral grounds and says, "Calm yourself.
He may yet be a great man" VI, iv, In parting from his sister, Raskolnikov also tries to reassure her: I shall try to be honourable and manly all my life, although I am a murderer. Perhaps one day you will hear me spoken of. I shall not disgrace you, you will see; I may yet prove ". A "strange expression come[s] into Dunya's eyes at the promise of his last words" VI, vii, Pulkheria Alexandrovna is even more obsessed than her daughter with visions of Raskolnikov's greatness.
This is most evident near the end of the novel in a series of stunning passages to which I had paid little attention before rereading the novel during my visit with my mother.
Despite being distraught by Raskolnikov's state and full of foreboding that "some great misfortune" is in store for him, Pulkheria is tremendously excited by his article and tries to convince herself that he has been so distracted and neglectful because he been busy with new ideas. Although there is a lot that she does not understand, she has read his article three times and tells him that, "however foolish" she may be, she "can tell that in a very short time you will be one of the first, if not the very first, among our men of learning.
And people dared to think you were mad! You don't know, but they really did think that. Wretched crawling worms, how can they understand what true intellect is? We are looking here, I think, into Raskolnikov's unconscious, into the attitudes he absorbed from his mother in childhood, that have governed him as an adult, and that he has elaborately rationalized in his theory of the extraordinary man.
He will be one of the first, if not the very first, among men, most of whom are wretched crawling worms who are unable to appreciate true intellect. With his brains and talent, he should be able to get anything he wants immediately. This corresponds exactly to Raskolnikov's view of himself at the beginning of the novel and helps to explain much of his behavior. Although Pulkheria understands "that something terrible [is] happening to her son," she cannot relinquish her concern about his career.
She asks if he is going far away: Some work, a career for you? Her face was disfigured with fear. VI, vii, Raskolnikov is bitter because he understands that at least part of his mother's despair derives from the collapse of her dream of glory. Unlike Sonya and Dunya, she is not a source of spiritual support. We do not see her praying for him. Pulkheria is so excited about Raskolnikov's article because it seems to promise the fulfillment of her dream.
She tells him that his father had "twice sent something to a magazine--first a poem I have the manuscript still, I will show it to you some timeand then a whole novel I copied it out for him, at my own requestand how we both prayed that they would be accepted--but they weren't! With her husband's failure to redeem their impoverished existence through a glamorous achievement, Pulkheria turned to her son, investing him with all her hope and trust.
Now he, too, has disappointed her, and she soon becomes deranged. I am not suggesting that her derangement results only from the frustration of her ambition or that she has no other concern for her son, but she remains obsessed with his career. After she falls ill, Dunya and Razumikhin "agreed on the answers they would give to her mother's questions about her brother, and even worked out together a complete story of Raskolnikov's having gone away to a distant place on the Russian frontier on a private mission which would bring him in the end both money and fame.
Pulkheria does not ask questions, however, but produces her own account of Rodya's departure he is hiding from powerful enemies and assures Razumikhin that her son will "in time be a great political figure, as was proved by his article and his literary brilliance" Epilogue, i, She reads his article incessantly, sometimes aloud, all but sleeps with it, and talks about it to strangers.
My mother did not read my articles, but when she became manager of a hosiery shop in a mall after retiring from the grocery business, she kept my publications at hand and showed them to teachers from a nearby high school when they came into the store. Pulkheria falls into long spells "of dismal brooding silence and speechless tears," from which she often rouses herself "almost hysterically" and begins to talk "of her son, of her hopes, of the future.
Trying "to give her a moment of pleasure," Razumikhin tells her about a student and his infirm father whom Rodya had helped while he was at the university and about how he "had suffered from burns in saving the lives of two little children a year ago. In her delirium she reveals "that she suspected far more of her son's terrible fate that they had supposed" Epilogue, i, It is the frustration of her hopes, I think, that kills her, more than the suffering of her son.
She cannot go on living after her dream of glory has died. When we appreciate the all-consuming character of Pulkheria's need for her son to become a great man, we can begin to understand her effect upon him and the sources of his ambivalence. He reacts to her letter at the beginning of the novel with "a bitter angry smile" because it puts him in an unbearable position.
He is supposed to be their source of protection and glory, but instead they are making terrible sacrifices for him and he is impotent.Crime and Punishment Review Remix
Their sacrifices make him feel like more of a failure and put him under even greater pressure to fulfill their lofty dreams. He shares his mother's attitude that he ought to be able to fulfill these dreams easily by virtue of his superiority to the crawling worms around him. He has dropped out of school in part because completing his education would only have led to a mediocre career, one that would have enabled him neither to protect them nor to satisfy their craving for glory.
Instead he has begun to brood about committing a crime that would permit him to achieve these objectives. But he has powerful taboos against committing the crime and hates himself for even considering it.
His mother's letter makes him feel that he must go ahead, and he is full of rage with her as a consequence. When he remembers her injunction to love Dunya, who loves him more than herself, and her statement that he is their only hope, "resentment well[s] up in him, more and more bitter, and if he had chanced to meet Mr. Luzhin at that moment, he would have felt like murdering him" I, iv. This is clearly a displacement of his rage toward his mother and sister.
There are many evidences of Raskolnikov's rage toward his family. In order to insure that her precious son will "be rich, respected, honoured," and "may even die famous," Pulkheria Alexandrovna is ready to carry her "conscience. Raskolnikov feels that "Sonechka's fate is no whit worse" than Dunya's would be if she married Luzhin; indeed, Dunya's may be "even worse, fouler, more despicable" because with Sonya "it is a question simply of dying of hunger.
Under the guise of unselfish love, they subject him to unbearable guilt by proposing to destroy themselves ostensibly for his sake but really to further their own ambitions. Their love is like hate. O how I hate them all! It is quite possible that he displaces his rage toward his mother onto Alyona, just as he displaces it onto Luzhin.
Raskolnikov is consistently conflicted with his feelings towards human contact. One part of him finds it repulsive while the other craves it after being so separated from society. By coming to check up on Raskolnikov even when he does not want to be cared for, Razumikhin proves to have the compassion that Razumikhin seemingly lacks. Instead of his usual pale quiet suffering, Raskolnikov starts to show emotion more visibly.
He transitions between his pale suffering, anger, and laughter, allowing Dostoevsky to portray his inner thoughts as they develop within his relationships. During the argument between Luzhin and Dunya, Raskolnikov is visibly angry and uncontrollable; however as soon as Luzhin leaves, he becomes quiet and motionless again. This change in emotion can be seen again when he confesses to Sonya.
He changes his reason for his crime many times as if he does not actually know the answer. He transitions from thinking Sonya and him are a perfect match to feeling as though she understands nothing. He then hates himself for dumping his sins on Sonya because he no longer feels she can understand them.
Through his continuous emotional changes Raskolnikov communicates his inner tensions and competing conflicts within himself. These progress through his relationships and cause him to constantly change.
Raskolnikov gravitates towards Sonya as he witnesses her commit sins that torment her. He does not see the difference between her sins and his murder, causing him to believe that they make a perfect match.
The Luzhin Question
When Raskolnikov confesses to her, she does run away because she can see how much he is suffering, allowing her to forgive his crimes as hers would be forgiven as well. She does however, believe that he must do hard labor to pay for his crimes, the ultimate confession Raskolnikov would have to commit. Raskolnikov sees this differently showing the clear distinction between their two crimes.
This perceptive accounting of events both expands and contracts time as it is illustrated through experience rather than chronology, a narrative technique that preceded later stream-of-consciousness writings Frank Raskolnikov, for example, needs several encounters to be present in his experience in order for them to make sense and for him to realize their significance. The narrative explores experiences and encounters by following each one out on its tangent, then returns to the starting point again before following the next.
The starting point for Raskolnikov is always the streets of St. He regains consciousness only to find himself still on the street and faced with the first wandering waif. As such his constant return to the streets could indicate a compulsion to repetition as he seeks to resolve the break or schism between his conscious and unconscious experiences. Raskolnikov returns to the streets following each encounter and each dream episode, allowing an association of the anonymous with his personal experience.
This unknown or undiscovered reality parallels the dreams that haunt several characters as they lend themselves to the rationalization of the dreamer Peace Raskolnikov continues establishing connections between his personal emotional state, the experience of the city, the lives that surround him, and the characters with whom he interacts.
These experiences and connections can be imagined not only as the mosaic Anderson describes but also as a web: It is these everyday occurrences that reveal the concerns and personal conflicts Raskolnikov struggles with, of which the dramatic and violent act of murder is only a symptom. Within this subtext the psychological discussion comes forward since Raskolnikov remains in denial of the associations his mind readily establishes between himself, his misery, and that of others.
The reader is then able to address individual questions such as the relationship of Raskolnikov to the waifs who reappear in vignettes throughout the novel. The pauses occurring as Raskolnikov invents their histories and speculates their futures argue the significance of these marginal characters.
While Marsh asserts the constant description of the female from the point of view of the external, male gaze, she does not discuss the projection of the male self that this objectification creates 3.
I assert however, that this is merely a denial of qualities intrinsic to our humanity—qualities that are not necessarily gender-specific such as empathy or spirituality. This denial also allows for the female object to be exploited, abused, and dismissed.
Throughout the course of the novel it is apparent that Raskolnikov is only able to find himself, or to complete himself through an association with the female characters of this book, be it the anonymous waifs, Sonya, or his sister. The harshness of reality is embodied in their labors and suffering, as these women are the reality of the realist novel. Degeneration and the Female Victim  The women who fall victim to poverty and find themselves on the street are often either completely disregarded or scorned by passers-by who blame the women for allowing fate to lead them to the streets.
Not surprisingly, the rise of modernity with its subsequent urban overcrowding and increased poverty led to philosophical and scientific investigations of the same. The breakdown on social and cultural levels was thought to cause individual decay, both moral and physical, often leading such to extremes in the individual as madness and even suicide.
The reader must then evaluate female condemnation as a matter of context. Most of the women are represented playing roles, as their lives have been reduced to their assignments accordingly. Necessity has created a space of dichotomous characters who, while pious, are whores, while well-meaning are murderers, and while desperate are ridiculous. His attention is always drawn to female figures on the street, to Dunya, to Sonya, to the likely fate of little Polenka.
Such a repetition of figures and their accompanying histories are not to be read as elements that remain separate from Rodion Romanovich. He is deeply affected by them as indicated by both the pauses taken to describe them and by the various emotionally charged fainting spells that follow each episode. While he is an observer of the city around him, he is also, and more importantly, a part and product of it.
Hunger, delirium and fever do more than just highlight the significance and importance of the body with its functions and needs, but infantilize him. As victim, Raskolnikov relies constantly upon the charity and care-taking of his mother and sister, Nastasha, and even his landlady.
Pulkheria Alexandrovna and Raskolnikov, My Mother and Me -- Bernard J. Paris
In an almost motherly role, his friend Razumikhin feeds him, dresses him and tries to provide him with opportunities. His sister has accepted a proposal of marriage in order to save herself and their mother from abject poverty. Raskolnikov receives this news with a confused emotional response of anger, hatred, resentment and sadness.
When he cries, it is not for their fate, but for his own and at his own failures: Almost all the time that Raskolnikov was reading this letter his face was wet with tears, but when he came to the end it was pale and convulsively distorted and a bitter angry smile played over his lips. Dostoevsky 33 The confusion of emotions is clear in this passage as he both smiles and cries, is angry and devastated.
This letter forces him into a reality he had been in denial of: The history of Dunya and their mother can be reduced to the situation of thousands of women in and around the city trying to earn their keep and failing.
With a good employer, she may have had a more desirable situation than the factory worker, one that shielded her against the shock of urban life.
The Luzhin Question | Lovely Weather for Ducks
To begin with, she seemed to be very young, no more than a girl, and she was walking through the blazing heat bare-headed and without gloves or parasol, waving her arms about queerly. Her dress was of a thin silken material, but it also looked rather odd; it was not properly fastened, and near the waist at the back, at the top of the skirt, there was a tear, and a great piece of material was hanging loose.
A shawl had been flung round her bare neck and hung crooked and lopsided. He came up with her close to the bench; she went up to it and let herself fall into a corner of it, resting her head against the back and closing her eyes as if overcome with weariness. Looking closely at her, Raskolnikov realized at once that she was quite drunk.
It was a strange, sad sight; he even thought he must be mistaken. Before him he saw the small face of a very young girl, of sixteen, or perhaps only fifteen or so, small, pretty, fair-haired; but the face looked swollen and inflamed.
The girl seemed to have little understanding of her surroundings; she crossed one leg over the other, displaying more of it than was seemly, and to all appearances hardly realized that she was in the street.